|ESPN.com: NFL Training Camp 2012||[Print without images]|
“They welcomed back Chad Pennington, good-will ambassador of the Wildcat. The former Jets quarterback enjoyed perhaps his best NFL season in 2008, when he played for the Miami Dolphins and coach Tony Sparano, who is attempting to recreate Wildcat magic in his first season as the Jets' offensive coordinator. Pennington spent the day with the Jets, watching practice and attending quarterback meetings. He has become a mentor to Mark Sanchez, and he spent time during practice talking to Tim Tebow on the sideline. With his old team planning to use a two-quarterback system, which critics say is a controversy waiting to happen, Pennington was the ideal person to preach the positives of the Wildcat and Sparano's system. He disputed the notion, floated by wide receiver Santonio Holmes before training camp, that a two-quarterback system will disrupt the starter's rhythm. "I think that's selfish," Pennington said after practice. "If you think as a quarterback this game is solely about you, I think you're sadly mistaken. This is the greatest team game ever invented. "For a quarterback to gripe about whether he's getting in rhythm or not ... grab the football and make a play. That's what it's about." That, of course, is music to Rex Ryan's ears. Even though there have been no signs of hard feelings, the Jets are only one slip of the tongue away from a controversy. They need Sanchez and Tebow to buy in. Pennington said the Jets have the ability to write a "neat story, a good, solid success story ... This situation can be the epitome of what this game is all about. We try to individualize this game with fantasy football and stats and numbers. But this game is about the people in the locker room." Pennington was unceremoniously released by the Jets in August, 2008, when they traded for Brett Favre, but he reconnected with them in February. He and Sanchez hooked up for study sessions at a hotel in South Florida, near Pennington's home. Pennington, always known as a cerebral player, gave Sanchez the lowdown on Sparano and his philosophy. Early Tuesday morning, Pennington met with the man who cut him -- general manager Mike Tannenbaum -- in the lobby of a Cortland hotel and they drove to training camp. Bygones were bygones. Tannenbaum extended the invitation recently in Canton, Ohio, where they both attended Curtis Martin's Hall-of-Fame induction. Pennington said the Wildcat could be a "great weapon" for the Jets, and he should know. In 2008, the Dolphins ran an NFL-high 89 Wildcat plays, averaging 6.5 yards per play and scoring a total of eight touchdowns, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Sparked by the Wildcat, the Pennington-led Dolphins won the AFC East, tying a league record for fewest turnovers in a season.
For a quarterback to gripe about whether he's getting in rhythm or not ... grab the football and make a play. That's what it's about.” -- Chad Pennington, discussing the use of the Wildcat package in games